Echocardiology Course and Class Descriptions
Echocardiology courses train technicians to use non-invasive measures to produce echocardiographic images of the heart, called echocardiograms, which are used to examine chambers, vessels and valves to determine the heart's health. Such courses are normally taken through a full certificate or degree program.
Echocardiology courses are available through certificate and associate's degree programs in echocardiology technology or cardiac sonography, as well as through radiology and diagnostic medical sonography degree programs with a cardiac concentration. A major difference between certificate and associate's programs in this field is that an existing health-related degree and work experience is normally needed to enroll in the shorter certificate programs. Both types of programs include a combination of classroom study, labs and clinical experiences, and students can sometimes choose to focus on adult or pediatric cardiac sonography.
Students in an echocardiology program normally first learn about the anatomy and physiology of the heart, study the diseases that affect it and learn to detect abnormalities. They then learn to use the equipment used to do stress tests and create images, as well as read the test results. Programs that include coursework on pediatric echocardiography teach the specific techniques used for this age group. Other topics students often study include medical terminology, patient care, physics and pharmacology.
Clinical experiences in an echocardiology program may start as soon as the first year of study, and there are usually several. After graduating from a program, individuals can pursue an optional diagnostic imaging certification to enhance their career prospects. In some cases, state licensure is required to work in the field.
Descriptions for Echocardiology Courses
Some sample echocardiology courses and their course descriptions are below.
Beginning Echocardiology Course
Students enrolled in this introductory echocardiology course learn the basic operations of medical cardio equipment for producing echocardiograms, electrocardiograms (EKGs) and sonograms, as well as stress tests and Holter monitor procedures. Students learn basic diagnostic methods, including how to read and understand findings from test results.
Advanced Echocardiography Course
Students learn to run more advanced stress tests and operate equipment for diagnostic imaging procedures. This class features instruction through lectures and discussions; these include an overview of all available non-invasive cardiac procedures. Students practice learned techniques in clinics, labs and other settings.
Evaluation of Anomalies with Echocardiology Course
Students become familiar with anomalies in the heart that could indicate heart disease or other heart health problems by studying diagnostic images. They learn to recognize valvular disease and evaluate the severity of the condition. This course also includes detailed instruction on the anatomy of the heart. By studying how a healthy heart responds to tests, students are able to compare these results with those observed in an unhealthy heart. Other problems that can be detected are discussed as well, including possible issues with unborn fetuses.
Advanced Pediatric Echocardiography Course
This course evaluates echocardiography techniques used on young children. Students attend lectures and practice non-invasive procedures. They also learn to interpret results from EKGs and perform procedures to stop problems early. The class also addresses post-operative procedures and pharmacology treatments in relation to pediatric patients specifically.
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